Sep 20, 2022

Activating to Support New Arrivals to Our Community

Since late August, hundreds of individuals and families seeking asylum from Latin America have been transported to Chicago by buses originating in southern U.S. states. Often, their possessions are limited to what can be carried onto the bus, and they arrive in the city without previously established access to food, clothing, shelter, or other resources.

In response to this humanitarian emergency, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago has joined the City of Chicago and dozens of civic and nonprofit organizations to provide essential care and services to these individuals and families. 

As part of this effort, Y leadership has approved a temporary reopening of our High Ridge YMCA facility in Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood on the city’s far north side. West Ridge and its neighboring communities are home to a vibrant and diverse immigrant population, as well as many organizations focused on introducing and acclimating newcomers to the area. 

Because of the center’s geographic and demographic position, its multipurpose capacity, and the Y’s established institutional competency, the High Ridge Y facility will be part of a citywide activation through which these new arrivals are welcomed as they enter Chicago. Upon welcome, new arrivals’ individual needs will be assessed and addressed by trained staff from City of Chicago agencies and human service partners.

At this time, the YMCA is not accepting donations of goods at the High Ridge site or coordinating volunteers as part of this effort. Those interested in donating goods or volunteering should reference the City of Chicago’s new arrivals webpage. Thank you to our partners at Target for their generous donation that will enable the Y to purchase towels and other supplies to care for those we are serving at the High Ridge YMCA.

In line with the organization’s mission to strengthen our community by connecting all people to their purpose, potential, and each other, the YMCA of Metro Chicago welcomes our new neighbors to Chicago. We look forward to serving as a resource and a welcoming space for all of our neighbors and friends—both established and recent. As this situation develops and evolves, the Y will explore how we can continue to serve our community at the temporarily reopened High Ridge YMCA.